June 23 was National Cancer Survivor’s Day, and the staff at Dr. Prakash Patel’s office at the Scioto County Cancer Center worked to make sure the day celebrated their survivors, patients and support systems.
“We did an event at the New Boston Community Center. This year, we did a luau,” medical assistant Kimberly Nance stated. “We had approximately 100 people that showed up including patients, survivors and their family.”
Nance went on to explain that the event is really focused on offering a strong support system for past and present patients.
“We’ve been doing this since 2011, and we do it to raise awareness about cancer and survivorship and to show our patients that we are here for them,” Nance added. “We want to give them that support all around. Even after they’re cancer free, they are still a part of our family.”
As part of the event, Steve Phipps from Hot Dog It served hot dogs, chips and drinks. Attendees also enjoyed a fruit bar offered by Nance, cupcakes courtesy of Jackie White with National Church Residents and kettle corn courtesy of Bruce Anderson from Nuclear Care Partners. Through cooperation from such providers, patients also had access to various resources.
The entire staff at Dr. Patel’s office had something to contribute. Receptionist Tracy Perry worked with Nance to contact local businesses, who donated items to be given out as awards. Director of Operations Linda Hempill assisted with donations and decorations. Radiation therapist Brandi Miller made National Cancer Day Survivor’s fliers. Dosimetrist Jeremie Pfankuch assisted with decorations. And staff members’ families came out to help with registration and handed out t-shirts, cups, leis and information.
“It was a great event,” Nance commented. “It was nice to be able to hand out prizes to these patients. And, we had music and fun.”
In addition to the celebration, Dr. Patel’s office honored patients by painting a tree within the office that symbolizes each patient’s fight against cancer. At the top of the tree is a blue bird that signifies Dr. Patel. Beneath him is six eggs, representing each of his staff members. Survivors then chose a colored ribbon to place on the “Survivor’s Tree.”
“Hopefully, one day it will be completely full, and you won’t be able to see the branches,” Nance stated.
Nance added that it is so important for Dr. Patel’s staff to celebrate with patients and survivors as a way to encourage them to keep going. As current patients build bonds with survivors, it gives them hope and keeps them from becoming discouraged as they fight to also become cancer-free. Dr. Patel’s office is already thinking of ideas for next year’s event and is looking forward to once again getting to honor patients, survivors and their families.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.